Sequester Pressuring PACAF’s Readiness and Engagement

Sequestration’s impacts are rippling through Pacific Air Forces, degrading readiness, Maj. Gen. Russ Handy, the major command’s director of operations, plans, requirements, and programs, told the Daily Report on Wednesday. The sequester’s spending cuts are also affecting activities and engagements with partners and allies in the Asia-Pacific region, which are important to the success of the US military’s defense rebalance to there. Readiness, said Handy, is more than flying hours. Activities like military construction on Guam and range operations in Alaska are also feeling the squeeze, he said. “I’ve got a giant spreadsheet and I personally review every single exercise and training event we do in this command,” he said. Large events require the approval from top service leadership in Washington, D.C., before they may proceed. PACAF officials are also consulting with partners and allies—many of whom committed forces to bilateral and multilateral events. “We’re spending a lot of time talking with our partners, and including them in these decisions,” said Handy. He said he’s told many allies that in order to maintain the quality of training; the quantity will have to fall. This means expanding bilateral events into multilateral events where possible, he noted during the May 8 interview. (See also Sequester Will Take a Steady Toll in Pacific.)